Answer to Medical Challenge

Yesterdays medical challenge answer was Herpes Zoster (aka: shingles). Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster (chickenpox) virus which lives in the nerve roots and can become reactivated later in life. The blistering eruption can be painful and one distinctive finding is that it rarely crosses the midline of the body. Each nerve has it's own "dermatome" distribution and the infection follows that nerve pattern.

It is recommended that people over age 60 receive the Shingles Vaccine (Zostavax) to prevent the activation of Shingles.


Anonymous said…
Why do the color variations in the first photo look so different then what is shown in the answer photo?
It looks like two different types of conditions.
Toni Brayer, MD said…
Anon: the first photo shows the infection after the vesicles have dried up. There may also be a secondary bacterial infection on the face. The 2nd photo shows the blisters as they appear at the beginning. The rash lasts about 2-3 weeks but the pain can persist long after.
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